Ecommerce platforms for small businesses 2019
PUBLISHED ON 2019-03-11
A brief comparison of best ecommerce platforms for small business
Selling online opens up and offers many opportunities, but beyond the typical requirements of any sales activity, it also requires the use of a dedicated online sales tools. The ecommerce platforms on the market today are the most diverse and often offer various alternatives for those who want to bring their business online.
Online selling can be done through the well-known Amazon or Ebay platforms, but the ability to independently manage the sales process and save money by having higher margins pushes the use of customizable ecommerce platforms.
Obviously these are not only tools for large companies, but also small businesses can benefit from them.
There are therefore some criteria to keep under control when deciding to use an ecommerce platform:
The ecommere platforms all allow a certain degree of freedom in customizing content in terms of graphic styles and user experience. It is also true that where you want to have a different level of control and customization you need to take self-hosted platforms generally and turn to software development professionals who can apply the desired changes.
Some ecommerce platforms can be free and do not require a penny for their use while others can have high costs when volumes scale up. Platforms based on open source software offer their product for free, but the hosting remains responsibility of the owner and therefore even if in a different form, there is a cost for the use of free software. Another aspect to consider and keep in mind in the case of non-open-source platforms is the cost of using them, which is sometimes a percentage of the sales volume and not just a simple subscription.
Some ecommerce platforms are extensions of other products, such as WooCommerce for WordPress. These are plugins that add ecommerce functionality to platforms that are created and used for other purposes such as blogs or institutional sites.
When choosing an ecommerce platform it is important to have an eye on the future of your business: it is also good to assess what costs will be incurred in the future in the happy assumption that the business is getting better and better. Migrating the ecommerce platform is in fact an extremely delicate activity and therefore, if you do not want to deal with it later on, it is necessary to assess immediately what will be the conditions of use of the platform once our business is increased.
SEO and technical aspects
The 2019 ecommerce platforms must make it possible to set up the necessary SEO techniques to ensure that the product does not remain primarily undermined by the competition, but that it is also able to rise above it. Other technical aspects that need to be taken into account are speed and mobile responsiveness (to date, mobile traffic far exceeds those from the desktop)
Ease of use
When starting an online business, the sales platform is a key tool, but it is not the core business and therefore it is better to opt for a solution that requires the least resources for its management. Managing the price of products must be an operation that can be managed comfortably without having to require too much effort. In order to have a competitive position you will often use tools to monitor competitors' prices and the integration of the informations provided by these tools is an operation that must be possible to perform without obstacles exposed by the platform.
Magento is certainly one of the most popular platforms in ecommerce, one of the main tools known as well as an open source tool and for this reason free. It is a tool that is extremely configurable and versatile and also very complete. Unfortunately it also has some technical flaws and if you decide to use it in an "extreme" way deeply customizing customer experience, often you may come across plugins that conflict and features that do not work properly. In addition, in this case it is almost necessary to have recourse to the support of software developers. Magento is certainly a tool to be used in case your product catalog reaches a large size and you have to decide to opt for a dedicated ecommerce platform: thanks to this you have full and total control over the product (unlike what happens if you rely on third-party services such as Wix or Shopify). With this follows honors and burdens of management.
If you have a site in WordPress and want to sell an extensive catalog, but not huge, WooCommerce is the winning solution for you. It is not opensource, but it is free and offers many features and there are countless plugins for its improvement and extension (pay attention to the golden call of the plugins: these are concrete extensions of the software and as such must be maintained and can sometimes create problems of conflicts of functionality). WooCommerce is an exceptional product and if you have a site in WordPress it is almost a must for the development of an ecommerce of small / medium size.
Shopify is definitely an exceptional product in the field of ecommerce platforms. It is an integrated global solution dedicated to the creation of an online store. It has a store builder, allows you to manage the products to be sold directly from suppliers and also has excellent extensions for dropshipping. If we want to talk about negative aspects we can only say that the user at this point, for better or for worse, remains bound within the boundaries of the product and can not, for example, customize the technical experience (not graphic) of the product.
Wix is not exactly an ecommerce platform, but it also has this feature available. It is a tool less dedicated to this aspect and more to site building. We can recommend it to anyone who has decided to create a site with Wix and is satisfied and must at some point expose a limited catalog of products for which you need an ecommerce platform.
The ecommerce sector offers a certain degree of competition and therefore there are many opportunities and solutions available: the choice of the most suitable tool is therefore something that requires an in-depth analysis to understand what are the current conditions and where you want to go. However expensive it may be, it is still possible to change ecommerce platform once you have started your own business on one and tested its limits. We would recommend Magento only for sellers with catalogs of a certain size, WooCommerce if you have a WordPress site or Shopify if you don't want to manage an online shop and want to limit the effort in doing this.